New York Mets: Evan Roberts

Mets morning briefing 5.28.12

May, 28, 2012

Courtesy of New Era
The Mets, along with the rest of baseball, will wear special caps on Memorial Day. This time, the team colors will remain and camouflage will fill the logo.
R.A. Dickey, Tim Byrdak and Frank Francisco combined on the shutout as the Mets upped their scoreless streak to 26 innings and moved six games over .500 for the first time since July 18, 2010 with a 2-0 win Sunday against San Diego. The Padres, who were shut out by Johan Santana the previous day, did not score after Jesus Guzman's first-inning sacrifice fly against Dillon Gee on Friday.

The scoreless streak is the longest by a Mets staff since going 35 innings from May 25-28, 2010 -- which came primarily during three straight shutouts of the Phillies. The franchise record, if you want to get greedy, is 42 straight scoreless innings from Sept. 23-28, 1969.

After consecutively facing the Pirates and Padres, the Mets now see a major upgrade in competition. The next eight series all come against teams with winning records: Philadelphia (25-24), St. Louis (26-22), at Washington (29-18), at the Yankees (26-21), at Tampa Bay (29-19), Cincinnati (27-20), Baltimore (29-19) and the Yankees again, at Citi Field. Then, finally, comes a reprieve at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, who currently own a 15-32 record, tied with Minnesota for worst in the majors.

Cole Hamels (7-1, 2.17 ERA), who is tied with Dickey, St. Louis' Lance Lynn and Los Angeles' Chris Capuano for the National League lead in victories, opposes Jon Niese (3-2, 4.29) in Monday's 1:10 p.m. series opener against Philadelphia.

The Mets, along with the rest of Major League Baseball, will wear special Memorial Day caps today. In a departure from the previous four seasons, though, the caps will remain in Mets colors. Instead, the logo will be filled with camouflage.

Monday's news reports:

• The Mets' revival of Banner Day, which had been shelved after 1996, appeared a success. Olivia Nuzzo and Stephanie Giangrande, cousins from Brooklyn, were declared winners by a celebrity panel of Dwight Gooden, Rusty Staub, Howie Rose and Evan Roberts. They won a trip to next year's spring training for capturing Mike Piazza's homer in the first game in New York after 9/11. More than 300 banners were entered. Gooden then threw out the ceremonial first pitch and shook hands with Dickey before departing the field. View a photo gallery in the Times. Read more in Newsday and the Daily News.

• Dickey fanned 10 Padres on Sunday, becoming the first Met with consecutive double-digit strikeout games since Pedro Martinez from May 9-14, 2006. Umpire Tim Tschida, who has called major league games since 1986, including 13 of retired knuckleballer Tim Wakefield's appearances, told Terry Collins he had never seen a baseball move like Dickey's did Sunday, according to the manager. Byrdak, now on pace for 95 appearances, had another major contribution -- stranding a pair of runners inherited from Dickey in the eighth by retiring lefty hitters Alexi Amarista and Will Venable. Francisco had a 1-2-3 ninth and has now retired 12 straight batters. Lefty batters are now hitting .103 (3-for-29) against Byrdak this season. The players sang "Happy Birthday" to Collins in the clubhouse postgame. He turned 63 Sunday. Read game recaps in the Times, Record, Star-Ledger, Newsday, Post and Daily News.

Courtesy of New York Mets
Cousins Olivia Nuzzo and Stephanie Giangrande show off the winning entry in the revival of Banner Day.

David Wright was hitless for a third straight game as his average, which had climbed to .415 in Pittsburgh last week, slipped to .382. Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News, by the way, thinks it's going to take 10 years to get Wright signed -- although Ryan Zimmerman's six-year, $100 million extension on top of the $26 million that remained for two seasons when the Nats third baseman agreed to the new deal seems like the actual baseline. Madden also asserts Wright will need to be convinced the Mets are building a sustained winner. Writes Madden:

That’s what’s going to take -- a 10-year, Derek Jeter/Joey Votto-like contract. And, if Wright does decide go into free agency after the 2013 season, the Mets can probably kiss him goodbye. That’s why this season is so imperative for them.

Wright, in case you missed it, is bending on his one-time claim to hold off on marriage and children until after his playing career. Wright told Steve Serby in the Post in a Sunday Q&A: "You see the guys bring their kids into the clubhouse and kinda hang out with them in the clubhouse and stuff, and that’s really cool. So, hopefully that’s in the cards for me."

As for Wright's 0-for-10 "slump," read more in the Post, Record and Daily News.

Bob Ojeda writes about the pain he went through as a major league pitcher in the Times. In a lengthy piece, Ojeda writes this about this medical intervention leading up to his start in Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS:

The team doctor was in Washington. I was in New York. The game was in Houston. So the team trainer called and told me to meet him at Shea Stadium. I went into the trainer's room, and he gave me two needles and two vials: one with a numbing agent and the other with cortisone. I stuffed them in my leather jacket, grabbed a cab over to La Guardia Airport and hopped the shuttle down to Washington. I met the doctor at the hotel, where he was attending a conference. He probed my elbow because, for the best result, he needed to hit the spot where it hurt most. ...

On Oct. 15, I went to the bullpen and started to throw. It was not going well. It felt like I had two sandbags stuffed in my elbow. I was in trouble, I remember thinking, but I figured I had to try. I gave up three runs in the first inning. Davey Johnson, the manager, stayed with me. A big deal. For him. For me. For my elbow, from which the sand had started, grain by grain, to run out. I went five innings. We won in 16. My left arm and I were going to the World Series.

Chris Young will move to Triple-A Buffalo for his fourth minor league appearance since May 16, 2011 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his right shoulder. Young is due to pitch on an extra day of rest Thursday, following starts by Matt Harvey on Tuesday and Jenrry Mejia on Wednesday and preceding a start by Jeurys Familia on Friday. Young's start will come in a 10:35 a.m. game against Columbus (Indians) and will be televised by MLB Network.

In three starts with Class A St. Lucie, Young went 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA. He allowed 17 hits and two walks while striking out seven in 17 innings. He did require nine days before his final Florida State League start, because of "dead arm" as well as the birth of a child, but apparently feels well enough to move to the higher level. Young has an opt-out in his contract on Friday. He has another opt-out on July 1 if he is not in the majors by then and wishes to declare free agency. Chris Schwinden, Miguel Batista and Jeremy Hefner have combined to go 1-2 with a 6.23 ERA in six starts in the rotation slot initially owned by Mike Pelfrey.

• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News writes about the upcoming schedule:

Beating up on inferior opponents is a vital first step for any team that wants to be a contender. The Mets just won five of seven against the Pirates and the Padres to raise their record to 27-21, the first time they’ve been six games over .500 since July of 2010. But now we’re about to find out if they can take the next crucial step in the evolution, as the schedule dares the Mets to prove they’re for real over the next few weeks.

Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post also addresses the games ahead.

Ruben Tejada's return from a right quadriceps strain is not going as smoothly as desired. Tejada experienced tenderness trying to run the bases in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Instead of a rehab game today, Tejada may be limited to grounders. Tejada's replacement at shortstop, Ronny Cedeno, sat Sunday with the same left calf issue -- officially labeled a cramp -- that forced him to depart Saturday's game. Justin Turner started at shortstop in the series finale against the Padres.

Josh Thole (concussion) should play for the first time in an extended spring training game Monday. Batista (oblique/lower-back strain) is due for a rehab start Tuesday. Pedro Beato, on a rehab assignment after opening the season on the DL with a shoulder issue, made his first appearance for Triple-A Buffalo on Sunday after moving from St. Lucie. He retired two batters and issued a walk. Read more injury coverage in the Star-Ledger and Daily News.

Incidentally, when Thole returns, the Mets likely will have a Mike Nickeas or Rob Johnson issue to sort out in terms of whom to demote. Johnson does have a minor league option remaining though, so he -- like Nickeas -- does not need to be exposed to waivers if the Mets decide to go that route and retain Nickeas at the major league level as Thole's complement.

(Read full post)

Mets morning briefing 5.13.12

May, 13, 2012
David Wright lifted his average to .402 with a 4-for-6 performance that included a homer and three RBIs. And the Mets rebounded from a series-opening late-inning meltdown to beat Miami, 9-3, on Saturday at Marlins Park.

Sunday's news reports:

R.A. Dickey was drilled on the inside of the right wrist on a pitch from Ricky Nolasco while the knuckleballer batted in the fifth inning. Dickey said he did not believe X-rays would be necessary, but he noted he was curious how the wrist would feel this morning. Read more in Newsday, the Star-Ledger, Daily News, Post and Record.

• Read game recaps, including coverage of Wright's big game, in the Record, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger and Times.

• My take on Wright: It's becoming increasing clear he will remain a Met long term:

After this season, once Chipper Jones has retired, you will be able to count on Antonio Alfonseca's right hand the number of active players who have appeared in more major league games than David Wright and done so in only one uniform. Derek Jeter. Todd Helton. Ichiro Suzuki. Michael Young. Jimmy Rollins. Brian Roberts. And it is difficult to envision Wright, who has logged 1,136 games as a New York Met, moving elsewhere and getting sidetracked from ascending that list.

Read the full column here.

Jose Reyes went 4-for-5 -- all singles -- in the loss. He is now hitting .256. "I got four hits today, but I'm still not quite where I want to be," Reyes said, according to Mark Herrmann in Newsday. "But it's getting close."

Mike Kerwick in the Record offers a reminder that the next wave of pitching -- Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia and Zack Wheeler -- will be given time to develop in the minors and not rushed soon to the big leagues. Writes Kerwick:

What the Mets pluck from this season is a bonus, a tribute to Mets manager Terry Collins' ability to coax the most out of three dominant starters (Johan Santana, R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese) and the top of his lineup (Is David Wright having a nice season or what?). Next season that changes. Expectations inflate. If at least one of those kids is not on the opening day roster, something will have gone wrong. For now: Patience, young Skywalker. The kids will get here, maybe even by season's end. Until then, put up with these short-term rental agreements. More-promising tenants will be here before you know it.

Charley Thurber, Albert Cordero and Travis Taijeron all homered in Savannah's 8-4 win at Hickory. Read Sunday's full minor league recap here.

Anthony McCarron in the Daily News profiles Octavio Dotel, who has played for 13 teams, including the Mets, his original organization. Dotel's April 7 appearance for the Detroit Tigers allowed him to pass Matt Stairs, Mike Morgan and Ron Villone for the major league record for most uniforms donned, according to the Daily News. Writes McCarron:

He chuckles when someone suggests he pursue an endorsement deal with Samsonite, the luggage company. “It’s easy for me,” Dotel says of the record, which he embraces and even admits he looked forward to holding. “Some guys, it might be difficult, but for me, going from one city to another city, one stadium to another stadium, one team to another team, it’s normal.”

Dwight Gooden, Rusty Staub, Howie Rose and Evan Roberts will serve as judges, along with one later addition, for the May 27 revival of Banner Day, according to the Daily News.

Daniel Murphy discusses his relationship with God, his engagement and dealing with the pressures of baseball with Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger.

TRIVIA: Who produced the first Mets hit at Marlins Park?

Saturday's answer: Mike Marshall has the single-season major league record for relief appearances. Marshall appeared in 106 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1974.



Bartolo Colon
11 3.85 125 161
BAD. Murphy .299
HRL. Duda 23
RBIL. Duda 70
RD. Murphy 71
OPSL. Duda .834
ERAJ. Niese 3.47
SOZ. Wheeler 148